Q. When is the best time to stop cutting asparagus here in Las Vegas? I have a bumper crop this year.
A. There are a couple of ways to determine when to stop cutting asparagus. First way is when the spears start to get thin. If you have thin spears, it is a sign the stored food in the roots is starting to get in short supply.
|Winter color of asparagus in the Las Vegas Valley with light freezing temperatures.in December.|
Stop harvesting. Let the ferns, tops, grow until late December and then cut them to the ground, fertilize with compost to get ready for the next seasons production.
The second way is a calendar method. Cut for about two to three months in early spring, let the ferns grow and cut these ferns to the ground in late December. Fertilize with compost and start the cycle again.
|Asparagus knife manufactured in Kosovo from a sample I took to new asparagus growers there.|
By the way, remove the spears from below ground with an asparagus knife, not by snapping off the spears. An asparagus knife is like the old fashioned, forked dandelion remover. In a pinch, I use a long knife and push it into the ground, cutting the spear. Snapping the spears leaves a “stubble” on the soil surface which interferes with next year’s harvest and management.Wash the spears and recut the spears to the proper length for cooking. Use the bottom parts of the spears, peeled, for asparagus soup.